Using Ultraloq app, you will be able to view users. You'll get logs of who's entered the house and you'll even be able to clone users if you ever install one more Ultraloq. The lock itself uses Bluetooth Low Energy, meaning that it will keep on working even in the event of power or internet outages.
It might take some time to set the whole thing up.
The Ultraloq UL3 represents the best parts of the whole smart door lock concept. It is more secure than the ordinary lock. It is a lot more convenient. It offers far more options. And it doesn't fall victim to any potential shortcomings of the Smart systems.
Fingerprint, Code, Smartphone
Anti-peep touch keypad technology, Hidden backup key, IP65 weatherproof, Intuitive OLED display, Low battery indicator, Reversible handle
3 x AA batteries
The Randomiser feature enables inputting 2 random numbers. This way, you can prevent thieves from stealing the password via peeing or inferring it from fingerprints. The Silent mode will let you adjust the volume or mute the key tone and/or the door-opening melody.
The instructions do not include information about which screws go where.
The Samsung SHS-D500 packs more features than the most expensive smart locks, letting you control everything regarding the lock and the doors this lock covers. Plus, with its futuristic appearance, the lock will make the entrance look brilliant.
Key tag, Password, Key card, Sticker
Screen with sensible blue backlighting, Randomizer, Away mode, Silent mode, Battery dead alarm, Emergency power supply, Prank warning, High temperature warning
4 x AA batteries
Amazon's 30-day return policy
The built-in tamper alarm blasts an 80 dB internal alarm the moment someone starts to tamper with the lock. The bank-level encryption will be able to prevent any unauthorised access. The lock lets you create a temporary 24-hour PIN code for your guests.
The supplied batteries don't last very long.
This smart door lock from Yale is one of the most visually appealing and cleverly designed options on this particular market right now. Aside from its functionality and security, the model will not inconvenience you or your guests but it won't compromise on the said security either.
Smartphone, PIN codes, Key card, Key tag, Phone tag
Built-in tamper alarm, Bank-level encryption, Incorrect pin code features, Connects to the Yale Smart Home Alarm and CCTV systems, Control via app, 24-hour PIN code for visitors
4 x AA batteries
The fingerprint method identifies fingerprints within ~0.5 seconds, letting you open the doors without wasting precious time. The model can heal broken fingerprint lines. You can add 95 fingerprints and 95 key codes, accommodating medium-sized offices.
The hardware is pretty cheap.
Despite its budget price tag, the Ultraloq UL3 can tussle with high-end smart locks. The lock can be accessed 8,000 times without replacing the batteries once. Its solid one-piece zinc alloy body withstands the elements like nobody's business. The iOS and Android app versions enable interesting access methods.
Smartphone, Fingerprint, Key code, Mechanical key
Bluetooth 4.0, Intuitive OLED screen, Anti-peep touch keypad technology, Sense-on, Knock-to-open (for iOS only), Shake-to-open (for Android only), Weatherproof and dustproof, Reversible handle
4 x AA batteries
Amazon's 30-day return policy
The reversible handle fits both left and right directions. You can separate the users into 3 groups: admins (<10 administrators), normal users (<60 individuals), and temporary users (<20 people). The app will let you review the records and add or delete fingerprints.
The spring that returns the handle to the 'latched' position is a little weak.
Smooth, polished, and secure are the words we'd go with when describing ZKTeco PL10DB. Barring its admittedly brilliant appearance from the discussion, the lock is as comfortable for you as the owner as it is for guests and people who visit your house on a frequent basis.
Smartphone, Fingerprint, Mechanical key
Bluetooth, Registration data, Emergency key override (concealed), LED indicator and inbuilt buzzer, External terminals, Low battery warning, 3 user groups - admin, normal user, and temporary user, Reversible handle
4 x AA batteries
Amazon's 30-day return policy
Ultraloq UL3 BT
Knock-Knock, Who's There?
Smart locks are inherently highly functional and, more often than not, pretty impressive from the technological standpoint. But they aren't created equal. With that in mind, let's talk about the Ultraloq UL3 BT, one of the most impressive options on the smart lock market. Though fairly close, the model isn't the most feature-rich lock out there and not even the most feature-rich lock in our review.
Of course, we aren't saying that the opposite is the case. It is definitely up there. The lock includes 5 access methods. You'll be able to open it with your smartphone (through the Ultraloq app), a code, key, fingerprint, or by knocking or shaking your phone 4 times.
Now, as for the aforementioned app, it doesn't really bring anything new to the table and we don't have an issue with that. Ultraloq application is simple and straightforward but it isn't devoid of a few good features.
Using the app, you will be able to view users. You'll get logs of who's walked through the front door and you'll even be able to clone users if you ever install one more Ultraloq. The lock itself uses Bluetooth Low Energy, meaning that it will keep on working even in the event of power or internet outages.
A Better Way
Every individual's fingerprint is unique (well, for the most part). Luckily enough, no one can steal your fingerprints from you (not in a practical way anyway). Of course, you can't really impress anyone with a fingerprint scanner these days. But the scanner here is a bit better than most of its counterparts. The company's very own technology relies on a waterproof, scratchproof, and dustproof sensor, making unlocking your door about as easy and secure as it can be. You can add up to 95 fingerprints. The sensor doesn't take less than half a second to identify the print and it works just as well with kids and elderly.
But, all things considered, our favourite part of this locker system is probably the anti-peep password technology. This little function lets you input any number of random digits and the lock will still grant you access as long as you embed the right code somewhere within that set of random numbers. This way, you'll have a certain peace of mind knowing that some of the more morally bankrupt individuals won't be able to steal your password the usual way, by looking at worn-out keypad digits or observing you nearby as you enter the password yourself.
Other than that, the model includes sort of a hidden compartment for a backup key and will allow you to program a backup code as well. All in all, the Ultraloq UL3 represents the best parts of the whole smart door lock concept. It is more secure than the ordinary lock. It is a lot more convenient. It offers far more options. And it doesn't fall victim to any potential shortcomings of the smart systems.
|Last updated price||£178.15|
The Future is Locked
The Samsung SHS-D500 borrows inspiration from the company's phones. As you can tell from the pictures, the lock looks sleek, modern, and even a little futuristic, not unlike Samsung smartphones. The lines are clean and seamless, the edges are rounded, there's nothing about the model's appearance that we can criticise.
We can, however, criticise the instructions that come with the package. Because this is a drop-bolt lock, you'll be installing multiple different screws. The hardware is shipped with the lock, which is great, but the instructions do not include information about which screws go where, so you'll have to find info online or figure things out yourself. Setting this mishap aside, the model ranks among the best smart locks.
First things first, the lock incorporates blue backlighting, making the digits on its screen visible even in low-light conditions. You can adjust its brightness so that the backlighting is not overbearing or insufficient.
Examining access methods, this digital lock lets you choose between key tags, key cards, password, and stickers. Of course, the package includes two tags, two stickers, and two cards, so you can share those with family members.
A Whole Slew of features
As one would expect, the best part about this model is its abundant features. To start with, the Randomiser feature lets you input two random numbers, preventing the password from being inferred from fingerprints or someone observing the password nearby. The Silent mode enables adjusting the volume or muting the key tone or the opening melody, preventing them from waking up a sleeping baby.
When the batteries are running low, the lock sounds a dead battery alarm, informing you that you should change the batteries. That said, in case you don't replace the batteries in time anyway, there's also an emergency power supply on the integrated 9V battery that lets you open the door via the instant battery charging terminal.
One interesting feature that even more expensive smart locks seldom include is the abnormally high temperature warning. When the temperature inside reaches dangerous levels, the lock opens automatically, enabling swift evacuation. Last and, truth be told, least, the prank warning feature will sound a warning and disable key authentification for three minutes, preventing pranking and trespassing.
Long story short, there are no smart locks within this price bracket that can compete with the Samsung SHS-D500 on the functionality basis.
|Last updated price||£129.99|
A Sleek Entry Point
Though it definitely isn't the most impressive aspect of this model from Yale, we simply couldn't gloss over the lock's appearance. Its shiny silver housing looks particularly posh. The OLED display with a black background is nothing new, sure, but the blue characters add a sort of a high-tech touch that really brings it all together, making for a sleek and oddly charming device.
But, again, it really isn't about the looks with these things. Luckily enough, the internal parts of the lock are just as impressive as the external ones. First and foremost, a smart door lock has to be convenient and secure and the model in question is nothing if not reliable and practical.
With smart locks, it all starts with the access methods. Here, you get a choice of 5 different available methods. You can open the door via a phone tag. Alternatively, you can use the key tag (keycode) that comes with the lock. A key card that's also part of the package is just as good of an option. Of course, as it is always the case with smart locks, you can program a PIN code and enter the house using that code. Finally, a smartphone application is just as viable of an alternative, as long as it is connected to a compatible Smart home system.
By the way, speaking of PIN codes, you'll be able to make up and program up to 20 different PIN codes (between 4 and 10 digits). The key tag and the key card that come with the model also aren't the only copies that'll work with the lock as it is capable of recognising up to 20 different cards, key tags, and phone tags.
No Access for the Wicked
Though multiple access methods is definitely an advantage of this model, we can't say that it is the advantage. No, as far as we're concerned, that title is shared between the multitude of safety and convenience features that the model comes equipped with. The first feature is the built-in tamper alarm that starts blasting an 80 dB internal alarm the moment someone starts to tamper with the lock. There's also the bank-level encryption that will be able to prevent any unauthorised access.
Doesn't really have much to do with safety but we really like the 24-hour PIN code for visitors feature. As you'd imagine, it lets you create a temporary PIN code for your guests, a nice little function that will make things easy and convenient both for you and your friends and relatives.
One thing that we couldn't overlook is what is referred to in the IT community as backwards compatibility. More specifically, we're talking about the fact that this model is suitable for wooden doors and can fit onto an existing night latch. As long as that night latch features the standard 60-mm backset, you should be able to make it work.
In short, this smart door lock from Yale is one of the most visually appealing and cleverly designed options on this particular market right now. Aside from its functionality and security, the model comes with a 9V battery. Just touch the battery onto the terminal at the bottom of the lock and you'll be able to provide it with a temporary power load in the event of flat batteries.
|Last updated price||£90.80|
Affodarble yet just as Secure
The Ultraloq UL3 comes from the same line that its stablemate topping this list arrived from. Of course, since this lock is more than two times less expensive, it is not quite as impressive. Having said that, at this price point, the model can impress even the more demanding customers.
Sure, its appearance is a little bland. But who cares what locks look like anyway? Alright, you can make an aesthetics argument even with smart locks, but you cannot argue that this is the most important aspect. Available access methods, however, are a pretty important attribute. With this lock, you can switch between the smartphone (via the company's app), fingerprints, key codes, and mechanical keys.
As much as we appreciate key codes and the smartphone approach, the fingerprint method is the best one among them. First, the model enables less than 0.5-second identification, so you're wasting no time reaching for the phone or inputting the key code. Second, the sensors are durable, waterproof, and dustproof, which means you don't have to worry about the elements damaging them. What's more, the lock can heal broken fingerprint lines and lets you add 95 fingerprints, meaning that the model can accommodate residential use, business use, and commercial use.
Nevertheless, the passcode approach has its moments as well, allowing you to create 4-8 digit codes. You can make as many as 95 codes, so, again, the model can fit small- and medium-sized offices as much as home use. The anti-peep password future that no self-respecting smart locks are complete without these days has not gone anywhere either, enabling you to input random numbers before and after the real key code. As long as the actual keycode is there, the lock will let you in.
Long Battery Life
There's nothing new or interesting about the company's app, so we won't be discussing the smartphone method. But we do appreciate the keyhole positioned on the bottom, making the lock more secure against keyhole hackers. We can also appreciate the long battery life that lets you access the lock 8,000 times before you'll have to replace the 4 AA batteries that are required to use the lock.
As uninspired as the app is otherwise, the iOS version includes Sense-on and Knock-to-open features, while the Android version lets you shake the phone and open the doors.
To give you the gist, the Ultraloq UL3 somehow forgets its almost low-end price tag, delivering features that we normally associate with premium smart locks.
|Last updated price||£141.69|
Biometric Door Lock
There's nothing wrong with futuristic-looking locks (like the one from Samsung that we've reviewed above) or bland-looking models (not unlike the less expensive Ultraloq lock that we've discussed before) but, when you can hit the sweet spot between the two, we'll give you props and credit where credit is due.
On that note, let's talk about the ZKTeco PL10DB, the lock that doesn't borrow its appearance from smartphones but nor does it look as dull as generic models. There's something smooth about this lock, something polished, something about its discreet and understated yet somehow attractive streamlined aesthetic that's easy on the eyes. Of course, the streamlined profile's possible because they removed the keypad, so while you can access this device via fingerprints, smartphone, and physical keys, you cannot choose key codes.
Do we have a problem with that? Not really, and neither will most people. The fingerprint sensors can scan RFID cards, so between that, fingerprints, mechanical keys, and the company's mobile application, the available options are sufficient. Plus, the scanner reads fingerprints within <0.5 seconds, so this method is preferable anyway.
The ZK Smartkey app works with Apple as well as Android phones. With this app, you can share temporary passcodes from anywhere, anytime, keeping track of who comes through the door and when. The app will let you grant limited access rights to babysitters or housekeepers, registring cards and passcodes via your smartphone. You can review the records and set the open door duration. Aside from that, the app enables separating the users between three groups: admin, normal user, and temporary user.
What the app cannot do is fix the spring that returns the handle to the 'latched' position. The latch works even without that 'fix' but it is a little weak, so we would advise against jerking the handle around. On the bright side, the handle is reversible, fitting both left and right directions.
Setting aside the handle, the model's construction is solid. The housing is dustproof and waterproof, so you don't have to worry about rain or time interfering with its operation.
Of course, this keyless model enables emergency key override (concealed on the bottom). There's an LED indicator, an integrated buzzer, external terminals, and low battery warning, the usual features that smart locks come with and the ones that conclude this review and cement this model among the best budget smart locks.
|Last updated price||£129.99|
What Is a Smart Lock?
All of us have got at least one key to carry around - either to the entrance door of the house or flat or to the garage or shed. That said, many people carry not one but four or even five keys to access different doors and places. Striving to make our lives a bit easier, manufactures have invented a smart solution that requires no keys at all, that is a smart lock. With a smart lock being used, you will only need to make sure you've downloaded a special app on your phone or tablet (whatever device you usually take with you) and then, using this app, access your living place (or any other place). Smart locks, in their vast majority, offer pretty much the same functionality as regular locks but, unlike the latter, offer a higher level of security. Many models of smart locks out there now have compatibility with Smart Home systems too, making them a stellar choice for people building smart homes. For this review, we've picked smart locks from various price range and hope you'll have no problems finding the most suitable one for your personal needs.
Another device we'd certainly recommend you to acquire, especially if you're building a smart home, is a thermostat that will help you reduce your electricity bills by controlling the ambient temperature near the desired point. Also, you can check out these garage door openers that will let you open and close your garage door without leaving your car.
What Features to Compare
Your choice of a smart lock depends, first of all, on the access method. The lock should be easy-to-use. In general, you access the lock right from your smartphone which may even unlock the door automatically when you approach it. You need only to install an appropriate application on your phone. If you unlock your entrance door yourself, you will have to press the button in the app every time. In this case, you should deactivate the automatic unlocking option. Some digital door locks allow locking and unlocking with a regular key as well. The locks might have a digital keypad for the access code input. This feature will be useful if you do not have a smartphone. Apart from that, smart locks sometimes let you open and close the door via RFID cards. As you would imagine, these locks are ideally suited for office use, although we like them for home use too when that's not the only available access option.
Extra Functions & Conveniences
Digital door locks may additionally feature extra functions and conveniences, for example, regarding access control. The application in your smartphone can notify you if somebody has entered the house or left it, what was the time, and duration of the visit, etc. You will have a detailed log of all such events. If your lock is compatible with the Smart Home systems such as Nest or Apple HomeKit, you will be able to get the status reports or enjoy other convenient features. Waterproof locks can be installed in the entrance doors of any building. Other smart locks are intended for interior doors only. Some locks allow opening by keyfobs that are convenient for kids or other family members who do not use any modern gadgets.
Exterior & Installation
You should also pay attention to the installation procedure and the exterior of every digital door lock. As conventional locks, these smart devices may be padlocks or deadbolt locks. Deadbolt locks are installed instead of regular old locks. You can just replace the interior of the lock in your door. It can be done easily - just with the help of a screwdriver. If the dimensions of a lock are correct, the exterior of the old lock remains intact.
Because these locks are digital, they're supposed to be drawing power from somewhere, right? More often than not, these locks run on 3-4 AA batteries. Sometimes though, the locks might require no less than 8 batteries to operate. The difference here is how quickly these locks burn through the batteries.
1. Megan Wollerton Smart lock buying guide, CNET. April 15, 2016.
2. Grant Clauser Smart Locks and Keyless Locks are Opening Doors to the Smart Home, Electronic House. July 28, 2015.
3. Smart Lock, Wikipedia. July 18, 2016.
4. Matt Klein Use Smart Lock in Android 5.0 and Never Unlock Your Phone at Home Again, How-to Geek. November 24, 2014.
6. John R. Delaney The Best Smart Locks of 2016, PCMag. May 19, 2016.
7. Stewart Wolpin 5 Best Smart Locks for Your Home, Techlicious. July 26, 2016.
8. Schuyler Towne The Current State of Smart Locks, Gizmodo. November 19, 2014.
9. Alexandra Chang Your Door Is About to Get Clever, WIRED. June 19, 2013.
10. Best Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart Door Locks, Postscapes.